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The Catharsis of Olympic Gold

August 22, 2008

 … the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition…

Watching the Olympics tonight, those words came to mind.  The agony of defeat as first the men’s, and then women’s Olympic relay hopes were dashed as the batons were dropped.

The thrill of victory – following on the heels of the women’s May/Walsh gold, the US men’s beach volleyball team of Rogers / Dalhausser secured the gold at the end of a triumphant 3rd set.

As has been the case each night as I’ve watched the Olympics, my emotions have followed along the highs and lows of each event and set of personas as never before.   What must it be like to dedicate years of your life and distill it down to that single defining moment when you are revealed triumphant, and super human, or derailed and left empty handed save for the memory of the contest?

For most of us, our lives are more an average of effort – we are less the sprinter, and more the marathoner.  What is our life’s strategy?  What will we achieve? What will define us, and serve as our legacy if not in the record books? 

For a few fleeting moments, the Olympics provide us all catharsis, and a chance to embrace greatness.

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